PDP: Sheriff, Makarfi bicker over party candidates
From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee have disagreed over the party’s candidates in the local government elections in Lagos and other states where elections are pending.
The caretaker committee, in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, accused Sheriff of fielding All Progressives Congress (APC) members as PDP candidates in recent elections across the country, to the detriment of genuine members of the party.
The committee was responding to allegations that its has asked PDP members in Lagos and other states where various elections are pending to contest the elections on the platform of a newly-registered political party.
The caretaker committee said while its position is not to choose an alternative political platform for any state where “true “ PDP members are denied of opportunity to stand election on the party’s platform, leaders of the concerned state chapters are free to take any decision they deem fit.
“While we await the verdict of the Supreme Court, we are confronted with pending local government, national and state assembly by-elections, in many states of the federation. Since the platform of our great party, the PDP, is currently in dispute, we recognise the anxiety of our patriotic and loyal members, to avoid a repeat of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections experience where senator Sheriff and his co-travellers tried to scuttle the chances of our members by fielding APC lackeys and surrogates as alternative candidates in order to disturb, distract and dissipate the energy and concentration of our genuine candidates in those elections.
“ It is also important to state at this point that senator Sheriff and his cohorts have been creating factional chapters in different states of the Federation, in order to compromise our chances in the local government elections.
“ In the circumstances and with no hope of the Sheriff problem abating before the Supreme Court judgement, we are left with no choice than to consider ways by which our members will not be disenfranchised in these elections. However, our position is not to choose a platform for any state where true PDP candidates are denied the opportunity to stand for the elections. State chapters are allowed to take any decision they consider appropriate.
In a swift reaction, Sheriff, in a statement by his deputy, Cairo Ojougboh, said all party primaries are open to all members.
“As far as we are concerned, we are one family and whatever problem we have in PDP, we should not wash our dirty linen in public. PDP has conducted successful local government election in Ebonyi State, signed by Sheriff.
“We are currently preparing for elections in Cross River and other states. All our primaries are open to PDP members and they are welcome to participate.”
He accused the caretaker committee of being unrepentant and urged them “ to return to the fold, so that we can adequately prepare to return to power in 2019.
“The door of peace is still open. We urge the Makarfi group to go back to the Governor Henry Dickson Reconciliation Committee’s recommendations.”